Who Flipped It Better? KRS-One vs. Troy Ave
The Sample: Treacherous Three - 'Feel the Heartbeat' (Prod. by Sylvia Robinson) 
Treacherous Three member Kool Moe Dee was sitting on the toilet one day writing rhymes, as he often did, when he began thinking about Kid Creole and a routine he would do with Melle Mel on stage. It had something to do with flesh and blood, but it was less about the content than the rhythm in which Creole was spitting. KMD wanted the Furious Five MC to keep up that tempo, but he never did, so Moe Dee decided to keep it up himself. Hence 'New Rap Language,' the Treacherous Three's first released single. It heralded the style known as "speed rapping" that still echoes amongst rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Twista today. The rest is history.
The group, bolstered by the success of their b-side on ex-member Spoonie Gee's 'Love Rap' single, signed to Enjoy Records, which was run by Spoonie's uncle Bobby Robinson. From there, T3 released songs like like 'At the Party,' 'Body Rock,' and today's sample, 'Feel the Heartbeat,' before jumping ship to Sugar Hill Records to release albums in '83 and '84.
'Feel the Heartbeat' is simply timeless, at once in tune with disco's burgeoning popularity (thanks to the Taana Gardner sample) and opposed to it in favor of exulting hip-hop instead. Speed rapping wasn't displayed on 'Feel the Heartbeat,' but as the story goes, it was the beat that Kool Moe Dee rigged up at the infamous Harlem World Christmas party in the Bronx to rip Busy Bee over at their infamous '81 battle.
Flip 1: KRS-One - 'Heartbeat' (Feat. Redman & Angie Martinez) [Prod. by KRS-One] (1997)
'Feel the Heartbeat' often has vocal snippets jacked from it (De La Soul sampled the song not once, but twice), yet KRS-One's 'Heartbeat' comes closest to the spirit of the original. The drums and the bassline are perfect for Kris' no-frills approach to all things hip-hop, though putting Angie Martinez next to Redman is a baffling choice. It was the third and final single released in July '97 from the 'I Got Next' album, so maybe payola was done in subtler ways back then. Give Angie a verse, get afternoon airplay? On the 12-inch, there's even a 'Video Cut' version mixed by Funkmaster Flex. Stay woke.
Flip 2: Troy Ave - 'Good Time' (Prod. by Yankee) 
Does Troy Ave get radio play in New York? Because if he does, this should be in rotation, along with 'Your Style.' Yankee filters the beat so it sounds like a summer block party and Troy mimics Tanaa Gardner's hook, so it's prime for radio. There's something a little too nostalgic about Troy's version, though. It always seems like he's trying to bring something back, specifically mid-2000's New York rap like G-Unit and Dipset. The way he continues to dig into the styles of past New York stars makes his own star power a little watered down, and it makes this 'Heartbeat' flip that much stranger. Surely, Troy isn't trying to channel Knowledge Rules Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, right?
He deserves the benefit of the doubt for bringing the sound to younger audiences, though. He's no 50, but the sample works perfectly, and at least the track doesn't feature clunky bars from Angie Ma. Is Troy Ave about to defeat KRS-One in something!?
Yes, producer Yankee flipped 'Feel the Heartbeat' better, if only because he actually flipped it while KRS did very little to the loop. The real life application of the sample matters here, too. KRS-One fans probably were probably well aware of the Treacherous Three, but Troy Ave fans almost certainly are not (no offense). For Troy and Yankee to bring that three-decade old classic to life again is a blessing for Troy, T3 and young rap fans everywhere.